Hello, writing community!
Thank you for being here. I need you. Let's start with that. =)
Ok, so, I've completed a fantasy story (magic, travel into memoryscapes, swordfighting) with an 11-year-old female protagonist. The book has no sex, drugs, or rock n' roll (or cursing), but it has some pretty serious themes and a big deathing at the end (parent). It is currently around 87k words.
I'm at the stage where I'm getting ready to submit to agents and... I'm just not sure who my target audience is. By main character age alone, it's middle grade - but the problem is, when I was writing this, I always imagined an adult reading it.
Can a fantasy book written for an adult audience have a child protagonist? I've read a few (Ender's Game, the Flavia DeLuce mysteries, IT), but those authors have a much more mature voice than I do, and the books are darker overall. I'd characterize my writing as "straightforward and charming" (except for the dying parts, you know). But my MC does a decent bit of self-reflection and the story changes her outlook on life and the world dramatically. These are cues that the book is YA, at least, but I don't know that teenagers would ever want to read about an 11-year-old.
So this is my issue. I honestly wrote this for myself and my spouse with no thought, at first, as to who else might want to read it. Can you help me figure this out?
Thank you - I'm happy to answer any questions that will help make this choice clearer.